Motoring corner : “How to Ride a Motorcycle Safely”

Motorcycles are a more popular mode of transportation in many parts of Africa.  They go by many different acronyms, they are called “Taxi Moto” or “Boda Boda” or “Okada” or “Bajaj” etc.  These come in very many colours and have a number of related issues.  Motorcycles are awesome to ride and expose you both the rider and occupant to many braces with the road as well as the other vehicles around you.
Ensure tyres are up to the job, your clothing too
Ensure tyres are up to the job, your clothing too

Motorcycles are a more popular mode of transportation in many parts of Africa.  They go by many different acronyms, they are called “Taxi Moto” or “Boda Boda” or “Okada” or “Bajaj” etc. 

These come in very many colours and have a number of related issues.  Motorcycles are awesome to ride and expose you both the rider and occupant to many braces with the road as well as the other vehicles around you. Furthermore, they are more fuel efficient than cars and trucks because of their more advantageous power to weight ratio.

At the same time, motorcycle fatalities now keep rising as compared to all the other vehicle-related fatalities in the worldwide. The contact between motorcycles and other vehicles is a dangerous one, however, injuries and deaths in single vehicle accidents account for nearly 45 percent of the figure. Motorcyclists must acquire adequate skills, equipment and awareness to survive the excitement they gain from riding.

The first and most important survival kit is the helmet. Consider only genuine models from reputable manufacturers. But the bottom line, according to Safety standards, is that 25 percent of helmeted riders involved in fatal motorcycle crashes suffered head injuries; among un-helmeted riders, the proportion zoomed to 60 percent.

The choice of helmet is yours to make. But understand that if you choose not to wear one, you’re just reducing the odds for survival in another direction. Besides the helmet, smart motorcyclists always begin any ride by putting on their gear; specifically, a heavy jacket designed for motorcycle use, motorcycle gloves, heavy trousers made of thick denim or leather and a stout pair of boots.

Jackets and trousers can include safety plates designed to protect you from the effects of lengthy, unwanted skids down. There is also a jacket being marketed that operates on the same principle as automotive air bags.

All this innovation points to one thing above all: safety. If you get on a motorcycle without wearing your safety gear, it’s just as crazy as heading to a combat zone without your helmet, body armour and weapon.

There is no universally established requirement to avail you of the education provided to give you the Motorcycle Safety you need, it is the accumulation of the vital knowledge, coupled with a very open mind to learn, that amass you the practical knowledge that will help you operate your vehicle. 

Without such skills, it is really suicidal jumping onto the bike and ridding without the benefit of having earned your rider’s license and heading across country.  Aside from learning about the specific handling characteristics of motorcycles, you will require lots of commonsense strategies for survival in the concrete jungle.

For example, maintaining situational awareness while riding a motorcycle is one of the best guarantors of your survival.  Assess everything around you: animal, vegetable or mineral e.t.c, always maintain your edge. Just because you’ve got your motorcycle license and begun riding, doesn’t mean your education process is complete.

In fact, it’s only beginning. Observe situational awareness every time you ride. Keep your evasive control skills sharp by practicing emergency stops, riding progressively tighter figure-8s and controlling your machine at slow speeds.
 
If your motorcycle is in poor mechanical condition, this could significantly increase the chances that it will fail at a very inopportune time.

Tyres are of paramount importance and you should inspect them regularly. In short, if the grooves are wearing thin, so is your traction. Your lights should all be operational, especially your daytime running light. Just like your car, pay attention to periodic oil and filter changes, drive train adjustment-chain, belt or shaft-and heed all warnings announced by your bike’s system.

Some of this maintenance can be done at home but don’t get used to avoiding specialised service points. After all, the experts there understand your bike at least as well as you do.

 motoringcorner@live.co.uk